News / USA

Farm Bill Key Issue on Presidential Campaign Trail in Iowa

Kane Farabaugh
DAVENPORT, Iowa — Agriculture legislation known as the “Farm Bill”, scheduled to expire at the end of September, is one of the top issues on the presidential campaign trail in the Midwest state of Iowa.  Continued drought conditions, and lack of action by legislators on renewing Farm Bill legislation, could influence voters when they head to the polls in November.
 
A lack of rain and scorching temperatures are taking a toll on eastern Iowa farmer Robb Ewoldt.
 
On his farm outside Davenport, a creek bed usually flowing with water is almost completely dried up.  His grazing pastures are so bare he has to bring in hay and water daily to keep his cows fed.
 
To make matters worse, some of his corn crop has wilted, and Ewoldt is worried that low supply and high prices will impact other parts of his farming operation. “The hog operations are going to be really hurting because they need to feed corn.  The poultry is really going to be in a squeeze because that’s all a chicken will eat is corn.  And a dairy guy has to feed corn to get his cows to produce a lot of corn," he said. 
 
While campaigning in Iowa, President Barack Obama announced the U.S. government would buy up to $170 million worth of pork, chicken, and lamb to help those producers affected by the drought.  Ewoldt views the announcement as a political maneuver.
 
“In the short run it’s going to help us, but to sustain us through what were going to see over the next eight to ten months in these crop prices and our input costs for livestock, it’s not going to do much at all," he said. 
 
Ewoldt says what would help are certain benefits provided by the Farm Bill, such as crop insurance.  He wants the legislation renewed before it expires to help provide a sense of security amid the drought. “We’re tired of the gridlock.  We’re tired of hearing that the Congress, the House and Senate are all locked up, and there’s so much - everybody’s so divided," he said. 
 
“In this part of the country especially, they feel very disconnected from Washington," said Augustana College Political Science Professor Christopher Whitt. He said in Iowa, the drought could determine the November election. “The ways in which the people from the two parties either respond or didn’t respond to the drought, would be a game changer.”
 
Oklahoma Republican Congressman Frank Lucas, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, hopes lawmakers visiting their districts during the recess will see the impact of the drought, and act to pass the Farm Bill.  “I’m counting on farmers and ranchers across the country who are impacted by the drought to remind their members of Congress, that’s what constituents do a wonderful job of, to work with committee to get the job done," he said. 
 
“Hopefully we can get by this bickering and let’s get it done, and let’s do what’s best for the country not what’s best for the parties," said Ewoldt. 
 
In the meantime, what would be best for Ewoldt is more rain, to get the water running through his creek again, and to help the grass grow in his pastures so his cows can eat on their own, without his help.

You May Like

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs